Research focus: neonatal neurology, neuroimaging and monitoring, analyzing natural sleep cycles of newborns
Jeroen Dudink is neonatologist at Wilhelmina Children's Hospital and Associate Professor at UMC Utrecht. His research is focused on neuroimaging of the neonatal brain, the neonatal cerebellum and sleep. Especially in newborns, sleep is essential for brain development. In the last trimester of pregnancy, babies' can spend up to 22 hours each day sleeping and a large part of their sleep is spend in active sleep (REM sleep). Their brains then make connections that are essential for motor development, attention span, interactions with others, and self-regulation.
Premature babies admitted in the hospital often only get about 14-16 hours of sleep (often even less) because of all the medical procedures and the hospital surroundings (loud noises and bright light). This level of sleep deprivation is concerning because babies literally build their own brains while they sleep. Neurodevelopmental problems can be a result of this sleep deprivation. For the Sleep Well Baby Project, Dudink and a team of data scientists from UMCU and medical specialists developed a predictive algorithm that can represent the sleep phase of a (premature) newborn. This allows for the planning of care around the sleep cycles and keeps the vulnerable brain better protected.
Areas of interest: